Photos: Closing Day at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas

Photo by Sonja Noring.

By Carol Tannenhauser

“I’m on the list,” person after person told the ticket-takers at the farewell tribute to Lincoln Plaza Cinemas and the man who co-founded it, Dan Talbot, held on Sunday morning, January 28th, the theater’s closing day.

Dan Talbot’s image on the screen at the tribute.

It seemed that everyone was “on the list,” for no one was turned away. Crowds poured in to watch the action as they always have in this legendary venue: on the screen, in this case, in one of the theaters to which it was streamed live from Theater 1, where the event took place, and family, friends, and film industry leaders sat.

Toby Talbot at the tribute.

Toby Talbot gallantly led off a series of live and taped tributes to her husband, who died on December 22nd, two weeks after landlord Howard Milstein informed them that, after 37 years, he would not be renewing their lease. The speakers began with Bernardo Bertolucci and ended with Michael Moore — who chose the bang not whimper route.

“Capitalism killed this cinema,” he railed. “At some point, people will say, ‘I’ve had enough.’ And the revolt begins.”

Michael Moore.

Interspersed with the speeches were clips of classic films exhibited and distributed by the Talbots during their 70-year partnership and marriage. Dan Talbot was hailed for his instincts, courage and foresight, but equally for his humanity; his generosity with his employees and aspiring filmmakers; his word, scrawled on a slip of paper, which was often the only contract he needed. To paraphrase one of the speakers, “He and Lincoln Plaza Cinemas were one and the same. Both will be greatly missed.”

The crowd at the event.

“The theaters served as a cultural forum, a global public square where we laughed and cried with, learned from, and opened our hearts to people from the most familiar and most remote corners of the world,” wrote Upper West Sider Sonja Noring after attending the tribute. “We are all impoverished by its loss.”

Photos by Carol Tannenhauser.

ART, NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 36 comments | permalink
    1. Doug Garr says:

      We must have seen a hundred movies a this wonderful cinema. Will miss it big time. I feel awful for the wonderful staff who helped me and my disabled wife over all these years.

    2. Leon says:

      Very sad day. Significantly reduces the movie options.

    3. Marcia Epstein says:

      This is so sad and makes me so furious. Where will we go now for these types of films? Is there anything we can do? This is New York City and the best art film cinema closes? Unthinkable!

    4. M. Lide and F. Rowley says:

      Beautifully written Carol …heartfelt thanks from us …
      XO, Miller & Frank

    5. Babs Armour says:

      What a huge loss to the Westside, New York and the arts in general. Let’s hope a new theater can come in to fill the void.

    6. Wendy says:

      Couldn’t travel there. What shall happen to the workers ? Shall Ethiopia have another cinema place ? What of : round robin dinners ? c.f. Dinner with Eddie , [correct title ? That authoress may be Isabelle…..There was a film course chez Columbia Theol. Seminary, Decatur, GA. What @ AFI ? @ Fraser C. Heston’s firm ? ‘bye.

    7. Sherman says:

      Michael Moore is a phony and a fraud. He’s made a lot of money over the years. Despite his shlubby persona he’s a very wealthy man.

      It’s a tad hypocritical of him to rant about how evil capitalism is and how capitalism “killed” LPC.

      • Francesca says:

        I don’t think Michael Moore is a fraud, but he is given to extreme statements to make non-extreme points. No sane business people would renew a lease with very elderly people. And there is no reason to believe that Millstein is averse to running a non-schlocky cinema at that subbasement location, which is hardly prime space for much else. No name-calling!

      • OriginalMark says:

        Jealous are we, Sherman?

      • Kc says:

        Finally some who sees through the bluster. Compete fraud focused only on making money!

    8. Nancy Wight says:

      This is so outrageous. How I will miss this wonderful place and the people who ran it.

    9. Patricia says:

      I was there Sunday,and felt privileged to be part of it. All of us who saw films there were part of Lincoln Plaza,and the Talbots.
      I got there at 10:30 am and left at 11 pm. Saw 3films that day and mourned. Thank you to all the staff

    10. Selva says:

      It is sad to see a great Movie house to close. The choices to see good Cinema in our neighborhood in a relaxed environment now lost!.

    11. Francesca says:


    12. Avram Cooperman md says:

      I lived across the street 38 years ago and LPC has been the source of solid movie entertainment since then for me thank you for the wonderful times

    13. Sema says:

      So sad.. Big loss for beloved UWS

    14. Francesca says:

      I couldn’t say it better than Sonja Noring, “We are all impoverished by its closing.”

    15. Anita K. Gold says:

      How sad this makes me!

    16. naro says:

      Can rely on Michael Moore to make stupid statements. What a poorly educated and read man.

    17. Ann Weir says:

      It has been the centerpiece of my monthly NYC visits for 20 years! I am in mourning, such a loss to the city.

    18. Karen Carlisle says:

      Heartbroken also !!
      I don’t know what I am going to do now,
      So many times when I needed comfort and creative food for my brain , I would go to Lincoln Plaza cinema to see a good movie . Thank you to everyone who worked there !!

    19. I can see you Maddi. I’m happy for you, sad for the theater and all of us. Also, wish I had been there.

      This is an iconic theater that should never have closed. It’s a great loss to New York theater goers.

    20. rs says:

      People, get a grip. It’s too bad LPC closed but there is not a single film they showed that did not show elsewhere in Manhattan at the same time. “Where will we go now for these types of films”–try the Quad, Film Forum, Metrograph, Film Society of Lincoln Center, IFC…

    21. Jimbo says:


    22. Brann Wry says:

      This theater, and its programming, were real treasures for all of us in NYC. It is a tragic loss for the city and for the field of film.


      Brann Wry

    23. Zeus says:

      ““Capitalism killed this cinema,” he railed. “At some point, people will say, ‘I’ve had enough.’ And the revolt begins.””


      Mr. Moore, you are such a fool.
      Ya look like a fool and you sound like one.
      Capitalism created this movie theater.
      Capitalism kept it going all these years.
      I’ll betcha 100% of the folks who attended the theater through the years were making the money it cost to buy a ticket in a capitalistic job that actually – oh my dear lord – paid money!

      Time to grow up Mr. Moore.
      Time to look in the mirror and realize the millions and millions of dollars you made through capitalism.
      Cheers to us all.

    24. Selma spieler says:

      Oh I so bereft, it was my go to movie, where will I go now, given that I live in RuverdE and the convenience of the transportation. Where will I go now to see the quality of movies that were shown in this movie. Sooooo sad.

    25. Bruce Bernstein says:

      Michael Moore has delivered a serious critique of capitalism in a number of his movies, including the recent “Capitalism: A Love Story.” His critique is substantive and not slogan-mongering.

      Modern capitalism has left us with global warming, something its most enthusiastic adherents have to deny in order to continue to spread their enthusiasm. it has produced increasing vast inequality and mis-allocation of wealth. It can only deliver healthcare and quality education to all people when socialist measures are taken.

      On the Upper West Side, it is in the midst of driving the poor and middle class off the island of Manhattan, and has produced mis-allocations in the commercial rent market. These mis-allocations make it harder for independent cultural projects like Lincoln Plaza Cinemas to survive. Thus, Moore’s statement.

      now, you might not agree with Michael Moore’s critique, or the analyses of other critics of capitalism. That is your right, and i respect that. But please don’t treat these arguments as trivial or unthinking. A lot of thinking has gone into what Moore produces. I am confident he is making many serious people think more rigorously.

      PS As for the argument that “capitalism” has made Moore millions: this is true. But Moore is a very talented person who would probably thrive under most economic systems. What i find ironic is that if Moore was poor and unsuccessful, the breathless acolytes of capitalism would be saying his critique is “sour grapes.” When the critic is successful, he or she is a hypocrite. i guess criticism of capitalism is just not allowed!

      • Sherman says:

        Hey Bruce – Capitalism subsidizes all of your entitlements. Don’t knock it.

      • Zeus says:

        Time to move to Russia, China, Cuba, Venezuela, or better yet – North Korea.
        Over there capitalism has not thrived,
        ergo – all is good, all is correct,
        and all are smiling.

    26. Jeff Rubin says:

      Very sad day for the City to lose this venue. Not alot of coverage of Mr. Milstein’s real rationale to kill the theatre. It leaves a gaping void for people Uptown especially as to options for seeing the wonderful kinds of films that were shown there and not in the big box super multiplexes.

    27. Debbie Jones says:

      years and years of deeply moving films that perhaps would not be seen. My most recent experience with Alone in Berlin where the filmmaker ran a soundtrack over and under that unnerved the viewer (repetitious beat of factory main character worked in) and set the tension for the Nazi takeover in a town of horrified Germans was extraordinary risk permitted in this wonderful theatre. And as is/was often the case after the film finished, strangers in the audience discussed the film as they moved up the aisles.

    28. Antonia says:

      The only place to see a film and eat something that was not only delicious, but NOT a rip off. Prices always fair, films always interesting. I am bereft.